THRAN — In a veiled reference to the countries that have normalized ties with Israel, a veteran Iranian politician warns that any attack on its security by any neighboring country and a “direct response to Israel” will respond equally to Tehran.
“Targeting our security from neighboring countries will be met with a response to those countries and a direct response to Israel,” Kamal Kharzi, the head of Iran’s Strategic Council on External Relations, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that part which was released on Sunday.
However, Kharzi said Israel is in a state of weakness and US President Joe Biden’s support for the Zionist regime will not bring it back to the fore.
The comments from Kharzi, Iran’s former foreign minister, came a day after Biden ended his visit to Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Kharzi said Iran has conducted extensive military drills to demonstrate its ability to hit targets deep inside Israel in the event “our vital and sensitive facilities are attacked.”
During the interview, Kharzi also said Iran is seeking regional talks involving key countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and others.
He noted that Qatar had made important proposals to conduct dialogue between the countries of the region and that Tehran had expressed its full willingness in this regard.
Kharzi also welcomed recent statements by officials in Riyadh to extend the hand of friendship to Iran and said Tehran is ready to enter into dialogue with Saudi Arabia to restore ties to normal.
Iran and Saudi Arabia are two important countries in the region and resolving their differences would lead to major changes in West Asia, the veteran politician noted.
Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran in January 2016 after Iranian protesters, angry at the Saudi execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, stormed his embassy in Tehran. The move was condemned by senior Iranian officials, including Islamic Revolution leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. However, Saudi Arabia severed ties with Iran.
“Iran has the ability to build a nuclear bomb, but has no decision to do so”
Noting that Iran’s nuclear capabilities are undeniable, Kharzi said, “It should be noted that Iran is on the nuclear cusp and this is no secret.”
He added: “Iran has the ability to build nuclear bombs, but it has no choice” to do so.
Enriching uranium to 20 percent was “more difficult”, but enriching to 60 percent was done in 2-3 days.
Therefore, it is not difficult to enrich uranium to a purity of 90 percent.
“We’re just a screwdriver away from achieving 90% purity,” Kharzi noted.
The leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei, has banned the production of nuclear weapons.
The former foreign minister reiterated Iran’s longstanding policy, saying nuclear weapons “contradict” Iran’s religious “beliefs” and its “security needs.”
However, he added that mastery of nuclear technology and the ability to build nuclear weapons is “deterrent”.
“Our missile program and our regional policy are non-negotiable”
Kharzi also dismissed any possibility of talks about “our missile program and our regional policy,” saying that any negotiation on the two issues would mean submission to the enemy.
Kharzi, a military spokesman during Iraq’s war against Iran in the 1980s, also questioned why the West sells so many advanced weapons to certain Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“European countries should say why they are selling so many arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and to Israel…while selling arms to these countries, Iran has the right to develop its own weapons, including missile technology,” noted the Chairman of the Strategic Council on External Relations.
He added that Iran had every right to improve its defense strategy and that accusations that it was “destabilizing the region” were untrue.
“There are many enemies and they have all kinds of weapons,” said Kharzi. “Those who have built terrorist groups and tried to overthrow existing governments… these are them [some] Bodies that have destabilized the region.”
“We have tried to maintain the status quo by fighting terrorism in Iraq and Syria, which were defended with help from Iran. Therefore, Iran was a stabilizing factor, not a destabilizing factor,” he continued.
Iran emerged as the strongest force against terrorist groups, including Daesh. Without Iran’s quick response, Daesh would have captured Baghdad and Damascus.
Iran’s counter-terrorism commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani was internationally famous for his war on terrorism.
“US trying to materialize financial imperialism”
On the current Iran-US relationship and whether he sees any potential for improved ties, Kharzi said it was in the hands of US politicians.
“There is hostilities between Iran and the United States,” said Kharzi, Iran’s former ambassador to the United Nations. “They use all their tools to put pressure on Iran.”
“They need to change their policies. You have to develop a new policy. Unfortunately, the United States is trying to materialize financial imperialism. If imperialism depended on guns and wars in the past, Americans depend on financial tools today,” Kharzi noted.
Referring to the indirect negotiations with the United States to revive the 2015 Iran deal, he said it was difficult to engage in a direct dialogue with Washington given a thick wall of distrust due to hostile US policy towards Iran.
He added that there is no guarantee that the US would continue to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if the deal were revived, and “this prevents any possible deal.” “.
Iran and the US completed two-day indirect talks brokered by the European Union in Doha, Qatar late last month to break the deadlock on reviving the JCPOA.
At the end of the talks, Iran and the EU, which plays a mediating role, said they would keep in touch “on the continuation of the route and the next phase of the talks.”